What Robert De Niro Knows That You Don’t About Business

robert de niro

From Meet the Fockers to Casino to Limitless, Robert De Niro’s legacy is huge. He is one of the most successful actors in the world. The next time you are watching one of his movies, do me a favor: don’t just watch them for pure entertainment, but watch them as a source of education.

Although Mr. De Niro is well known for his acting abilities, his movies don’t just entertain. They can actually teach you a lot about business as well.

Download a printable version of this post.

If you don’t believe it, just look at some of his movie quotes…

Don’t Be a Rat

You learned the two greatest things in life: never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.

Talking shit about people or tattle-telling on people won’t make you look good in business. It will make you look bad. Unlike your personal life, your business life should be a drama free zone.

If you start gossiping or ratting people out, you’ll start to earn a bad reputation, and no one will want to hang out with you after hours. Although that may not sound like a big deal to you, a lot of business deals are done outside of the work place.

Emotions Affect Decisions

People don’t try to show their feelings; they try to hide them.

It doesn’t matter how logical or tough you are, you have emotions. There is nothing wrong with it – we all have emotions. And just like Mr. De Niro’s character stated, you should try to hide them when doing business because emotions and business don’t mix well.

What you do need to do when doing business with other people is you need to look deep into their eyes, analyze their body language and figure out what feelings they are trying to hide. If you can figure out the emotions they don’t want to show you, you can then leverage those feelings to close a deal.

Just make sure you aren’t crossing any boundaries when doing this. For example, I would never leverage someone’s family or personal life to close a business deal as it is unethical.

Patience is a Virtue

All good things come to those who wait.

The reason I have succeeded in business isn’t because I am smart. It’s because I am persistent. I have succeeded because I have been in business for over ten years.

The first few years are always hard because you’ll make rookie mistakes, but as you continue your entrepreneurial journey, you’ll be less likely to make mistakes.

As long as you learn from your mistakes and you are willing to put in a good portion of your life into the business world, sooner or later you’ll do well. My recommendation is that you start as soon as possible as you don’t have too many financial or family obligations when you are sixteen or eighteen years old.

It’s Better to Be the Solution Than the Problem

Either you’re part of the problem or you’re part of the solution or you’re just part of the landscape.

If you had an option to be part of the problem, solution, or landscape, which one would you pick? I hope you didn’t say “landscape” because that means you’re not even trying – you are just watching everyone pass you by.

If you said “problem”, that’s also bad because people don’t pay people who cause problems; they pay people who solve them.

Always try to solve people’s problems as you’ll make a lot more money doing so. When you start a business, the first thing you should think about is “what problem am I solving?”

You should never start a business because you have a cool idea. Instead, start a business because you know of a problem that enough people have today for which you have a simple solution.

Give a Little Respect

I don’t give a shit who he’s connected to. Tell him to take his fuckin’ feet off the table. What’s he think this is, a goddamn sawdust joint?

It doesn’t matter how much money you have or who you are, you should always respect others. Just because you are famous or more successful than someone else doesn’t give you the right to treat them like shit.

In the long run, when you start respecting the little guy, they will start telling all of their friends about you. Sooner or later, more people will want to do business with you.

For example, I was at a conference in London a few years ago. I saw that no one wanted to help out this Russian kid who could barely speak English. I took thirty minutes of my time to give him free advice. That same night, he told over ten companies how great I was. One of those companies ended up giving my firm a 1.2-million dollar contract.

Don’t Stiff People

I’ll fuckin kill you, get the money, you fuckin’ cocksucker, you hear me?

Whether my business is doing well or not, I always figure out a way to pay my employees and contractors on time. If you can’t learn how to pay people the money you owe them, how can you expect people to always pay you?

I’ve been stiffed of a lot of money, and I probably still have a few hundred grand in receivables from companies that will never pay me. I never want to have other people experience that feeling as it isn’t fair to make people work for you without paying them.

You Don’t Know Everything

You haven’t had to climb up all the grease balls. You haven’t been bored blind at fundraiser. You haven’t done the time and that first marriage to the girl with the right father. You think you can leap over all on a single bound. You haven’t had to bribe or charm or threaten your way to the seat at that table. You don’t know how to assess your competition because you haven’t competed. Don’t make me your competition.

No matter how smart you are, you can always learn more. Next time you are talking to someone, don’t assume you know more than the person you are talking to does.

One of the best ways to learn is from other people. So, when someone doesn’t know the latest stuff that is happening in your world, it doesn’t mean that he or she can’t teach you something else.

If there is one thing that I wish I could have more of, it’s experience. The more meetings I do, the more problems I run into, the smarter I become because I am always learning from these experiences. Which is why you should never stop learning!

Don’t Fight Fire With Fire

There’s no way you can be making accusations like that and be walking around alive.

I’m a big believer in living a peaceful life. I’ve been screwed over multiple times, but I never pick fights.

The next time you are thinking about burning a bridge, running your mouth on someone, or picking a fight, just remember that you are better off by keeping your mouth shut and walking away.

You never know how far the other party is willing to go to make your life miserable, so why not just take your tail and put it between your legs. I know it sounds like a cowardly thing to do, but in the long run, it will pay off. For example, I had someone screw me over and then try to pick a fight with me. I apologized; the other party forgave me; and a year later they ended up giving me a $240,000 contract.


Robert De Niro’s characters are not the only ones you can learn something from. You can literally gain knowledge from everyone. Heck, I even learn new things from my one-year-old nephew. He taught me that you don’t need much in life to be happy.

Stop looking at things just from the surface level. Dig deeper!

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  1. Neil I have a question about the way payroll works and how do you pay your employees!!

    • I don’t know how it works… I just use ADP and they take care of everything.

      If you have a specific question, let me know.

  2. Razak Muhaimin :

    Another great sharing based from well-known actor. Thanks a lot Neil. 😀

  3. Great Post.

  4. Peter Venter :

    A simple thing called karma. You screw someone over you cannot guarantee it will come back and bite you in the ass. My mom always told me ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, shut your mouth’.

    • Definitely. That’s essentially what I was trying to convey. Thanks, I like that quote!

      • College textbooks :

        It is also a good idea to never burn bridges. You never know when you may need to or have to work with that person. The internet is smaller than it looks when you break it down. There are the winners who stand out and everyone respects them, The winners who rock but diss almost everyone [(SM) Man i want to be a snit here]Then you have the quite ones that no one knows or at least they are not in the spotlight. Then everyone else who is trying to get up there with the rest.

    • I also agree on this. I prefer not to say anything rather than hurting somebody. If you can’t help someone you better walk away rather than doing more damage.

  5. Anand Anil Muglikar :

    This is an awsm post Neil! With tonnes of experience n profound wisdom! I knw this is gonna help me wenevr I’m in doubt n need sm different angle to look at a problem.

  6. Witty Artist :

    Robert de Niro definitely has charisma.
    All these tips are great. I like best “emotions affect decisions” and “you don’t know everything”. It’s so good to have a child’s mind in many situations.
    Another actor that comes now to my mind and can teach us many lessons is Anthony Hopkins.

    • Yes, Sir Anthony Hopkins always portrays people with steely guts and determination.

    • College textbooks :

      I like how you said “it is good to a child’s mind in many situations” You can go far with this. If you are able to break things down to be so simple that a child can understand you have done a great thing.

  7. Wow!
    This reminds me on old one:” The truly lady and gentelman, when they have nothing good to say, then they don’t say anything”:)
    And second one: “Good returns with good”

    “Stop looking at things just from the surface level, you need to dig deeper.”-the best one.

    Respect for you !


    • Awesome quotes, thanks for the input. I might use those 🙂

      • College textbooks :

        One of my favorite quotes for business is “Be aware of “yes” men. Generally, they are losers. Surround yourself with winners. Never forget – people win.” Paul “the Bear” Bryant
        my other fav is “In life, you’ll have your back up against the wall many times. You might as well get used to It.”

    • Thank you for these quotes. Those remind us that if we want anything good to happen to us we have to give something good in return and we really want to find something we have to see things very clearly.

  8. I like the post, It gives motivation to improve our character.

  9. Marine Chandlery :

    Love it! The good book De Niro, a philosophical guide to life 🙂

  10. Alan Takushi :

    Never stop learning… or, better yet, try and learn something from everything you do or encounter. I have to remember that the next time I see my little nephew. 🙂

    • The thing is that even if we want or not we learn all our life and no matter how much we learn there is still more to learn.

  11. Nice post Neil, think you missed a good one..”Money makes your life easier. If you`re lucky to have it, you`re lucky.”

    • That’s a great quote, however, I feel family and friends are something people should feel lucky to have.

  12. “I don’t give a shit who he’s connected to. Tell him to take his fuckin’ feet off the table. What’s he think this is, a goddamn sawdust joint?”

    That’s great. I think we sometimes think too far into “the customer always comes first” that we forget to uphold our own standards. And that’s when everything falls apart.

    • “The customer is the king”?
      Right,but the real “king” know how to behave.Isn’t?

      • Raiman, Jelena:
        Great points. It’s important to know you have a say as well, if you appease our customers too much we lose sight of what is important…our own product.

      • The customers is the king and he is always right. This is something that every business owner should know. You don’t have to take it literally and what I mean is that even if you know that your customer is wrong you have to give him the impression that he is right and you will correct the mistake. Any business depends on it’s customers and this is why customers have to be treated like “king”.

        • Definitely, great points. Customers should always be your top priority.

          • The thing is that many business owners don’t realize that the customers are the thing that keep their business alive. Without customers you can’t sell your product no matter how good it is.

  13. another nice post..a big fan of Robert 🙂

  14. It’s Better to be the Solution Than the Problem

    Ground breaking solution making ability is one of the most indispensable quality that makes an entrepreneur different from the Bureaucrats, politicians and from the common folks.

    • I agree, we have a lot more freedom and say in what we do. Rather than being pencil pushers or appeasing our crowd.

    • A smart entrepreneur knows how to fill the gaps in the market and how to be the solution everyone is looking for. Politicians on the other way know how to show us the problems but they don’t have any idea on how to solve them.

  15. Khuram Malik :

    Interesting post. I always felt the Godfather movies had a lot to teach about business (especially part I). In fact, i wrote a blog post on it, but this was in my early days when i was (and still am) learning about entrepreneurship.

  16. His TriBeCa projects also did very well in New York.

    Raging Bull was his last good movie.

  17. Pete Meehan :

    Hey there, you are cheatin, leveraging of the great stylistic Robert.

    So why don’t you bring Taxi Driver into it too?

    “Talking to me…”


    A good ploy. It got our attention. Devious but good.

  18. Donna Pough-Rivera :

    I loved this post. I tweeted and posted a link on my facebook last night. GREAT STUFF !!


  19. Excellent post, so practical and useful.

    Thank You

  20. Samir Patel :

    Can you please add a printer friendly version with each of your posts? I get more out of them when I can print the post and write my own thoughts in the margins. Thanks much for sharing your experiences!

  21. Neil,

    I really like the way you wrote this post! It makes perfect sense, and is so easy to relate to. I was brought up with similar values, to always respect people and to avoid the conflicts as best you can. The instinct is usually to retaliate, or defend yourself, but like you illustrated in your post, it’s much better off to walk away with as little conflict as possible. It’s better for you, too – now that energy you would have wasted on the person who wronged you is free to put into something great, that will better yourself and your business. Great post!

    • Great points. Couldn’t have said it better myself. It is very important in business, and in life, to be a bigger man/woman and step away from conflict when it will produce no positive result. Some fights are not worth fighting.

  22. Naser @ Best Tips For Blogging :

    Excellent post Neil, very inspiring
    I have a question :
    On KISSmetrics, it was a free trail offer, for the offer, do we need to link our credit card to sign up, and after completing the trail period, is it compulsory to signup with KISSmetrics ?

  23. In San Francisco we have a problem with gang violence. Innocent tourists get shot walking from a theater to their Union Square hotel.

    If someone is shooting other people, it’s probably a good idea to put them in prison for 20 years. Problem is, witnesses often will not speak to police.

    Ratting people out is a phrase mostly used by criminals, like the characters Di Niro often plays. To be friends with criminals – and certainly if you are part of their criminal gang – you don’t rat people out.

    In prison the worst criminals have the highest status. They are “bad.” This creeps into our culture and when people see a really good car they say, “That’s bad.” This reasoning is the opposite of a psychologically healthy person.

    Saying something is bad when you mean it’s good, and taking a stance where you won’t “rat someone out” means you may be taking on the ethics of a criminal.

    People don’t like to be judged – to be told they are wrong – so it might not be helpful to confront someone to their face. But you can always talk about them behind their back….

    The SEO who noticed JC Pennys was using paid links realized that Pennys was not ranking #1 in Google because they were legitimately popular, talked about and linked to. They ranked #1 by getting bogus links fooling Google into thinking they were more popular than they really were. Meanwhile, smaller companies that lacked Pennys budget but were more popular – legitimately popular – were pushed down in the rankings and didn’t get the visits and business they arguably deserved.

    That’s why it was right for that SEO to rat out Pennys to the New York Times, why it was great that the Times ran their story, and why it was right that Google bounced them out of their #1 position.

    It’s probably not wise to make an enemy for life by telling someone to their face that their high rankings, visits and revenue are not deserved, because they are lying to the public when they appear #1 in search results that are based on popularity they don’t legitimately have. It’s not in the best interests for most people to blog about that sort of thing. It just upsets people and gains you an enemy for life.

    But privately letting Google know is another matter.

    Are we against Google’s search quality team, everything they stand for and everything they do? The web is a cesspool – we just are not much aware of it because Google’s trust rank and all the other stuff does a pretty good job of filtering it out.

    An extreme case might be malware. If you discovered a site that put really bad malware one people’s computers and you knew that Google didn’t know about it, wouldn’t you be a good guy for letting Google know?

    Better to be a good guy than adopt the practices of criminals as portrayed in some movie.

    I’m not saying this is a black and white issue. I enjoyed your perspective and see lots of validity to it. It’s great that you have comments here so people can discuss, in an intelligent and respectful way, what is a reasonably significant issue for people in our business.

    • Great points Greg. Enjoyed reading through your perspective on the community and ratting others out. I think it’s important to keep a level headed view and have all of the information readily available before you “rat” someone out. With that being said, I completely agree with all the main points you shared. Thanks!

    • Kevin Kimes :

      I completely agree. The “don’t be a rat” mentality is mostly a very negative one.

      Last year there was an incident where several employees at a Jeep plant in Detroit were caught red-handed drinking alcohol and smoking joints during their lunch break. It appeared that somebody had blown the whistle on them.

      A particular forum I frequented at the time had a long discussion on the event. At least one poster there adamantly held the position that the only thing worse than those guys assembling motor vehicles while drunk and high was whoever ‘ratted them out’.

      He didn’t seem able to logically defend his position, and would always circle back to his iron clad reasoning that a “rat” is somehow the lowest form of humanity by some unalterable definition. He would become quite angry at everyone who actively disagreed with him.

      In my opinion, however, is that “rat” is a hero. Especially since I actually want to own the particular model Jeep which is built at that facility, and will likely transport my dear family in it.

      On the other hand, there are certainly situations where tattling is not a moral imperative. There’s no danger or moral problem in the particular behavior, and perhaps it’s only “technically” against a poorly written rule.

      An example might be those situations where a sports fan puts a small sign up in their yard, in support of their team while living under the “authority” of a home owners association. A nosy neighbor going around looking for anything and everything that might be a slight violation of the wording of the HOA’s CC&Rs would qualify as a true “rat”. (No, I’m not a sports fan)

      • I agree. Being a rat isn’t always a bad thing. Whistle-blowers ensure quality control for products we use everyday. However, in some instances (the business kind) being a rat can really work to your detriment.

    • You could write an entire blog post with your story and your opinions. It is great to read such posts from time to time. Hope to see your more often around.

  24. great stuff dear

  25. Thanks Neil .. very interesting information

    I believed I heard the “All good things to those who wait” quote to Hannibal Lecter, on Silence of the Lambs. However, your point was made clear.


  26. I am sure that there are so many better things to learn from day to day people if we sit and observe nicely.

  27. “Don’t Fight Fire With Fire”
    very true!!, i’ve experienced it too, but the other side. A freelance developer tried to run away with initial payment. I tried all means to teach him a lesson, from putting his name in complaint boards, blogposts, etc. I even started following the projects he was bidding to and warned the buyers of his scam and made sure nobody bought service from him(really wonder how he had good ratings in the freelance site he was offering services) He challenged me by refusing to give my money back. I even threatned to give a local polic complaint. Finally I cought hold of his facebook account and threteaned to message all his friends abt his fraud. This worked (Facebook Rocks!!) All these actions taken by me scared myself, what if my enemy does all this to me!! that would be shattering. So, yes it is very important to be nice with people, especially in this information age. Great post Neil, Keep em coming!

    • Definitely. Luckily you are safe and the person hasn’t retaliated. I think karma eventually deals with people accordingly. If you do well, you will receive well.

  28. Michael Barrett :

    Nice post Neil.

    If I only ALWAYS did the things you wrote about…

    I’m imaging sitting next to you at the table listening observantly and soaking it in.


    Regards from Paradise…


  29. Shilpi Singha Roy :

    Great post Neil,

    I really loved reading it. It tells me how you can gain knowledge from persons around you. They may be well known or not too just keep your mind open for new ideas.
    Shilpi Singha Roy

  30. I also learned few interesting things from movie -Fight Club. There are some eye-opener scenes in that movie, especially that acid scene. Not sure if we can relate some of these to business/startups. Nice post as usual, neil. 🙂

    • Fight Club has some great one liners as well. Thanks, appreciate it. Glad you found it useful 🙂

  31. cherry rodriguez :

    We all can learn things in life when watching movies – and the ones done by Robert De Niro are pretty good ones. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  32. Dilip Kumar Gangur :

    Hi Neil, I am following your articles from few months back, they
    were very useful, for young entrepreneus, Thanks For sharing your Experience, And Expecting more such useful articles..

  33. That’s so true about the ‘Patience is a virtue’, in so many situations in life from money troubles to relationships. Not to mention the good quote about not ratting on your mates. Robert De Niro is legend.

  34. Nice post Neil….

    Exactly i don’t remember where i have read this Chinese quote
    “To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art”
    i strongly believe in it… that to do business in true terms is very difficult, until and unless u don’t know the real art to earn from it.
    Your post will be very helpful for budding entrepreneurs.

    Keep up the good work..

    • That’s an awesome quote. I think I am going to use it, I think it is really to the point. Thanks!

  35. Hi Master Neil

    Please excuse me Neil For mentioning master as I feel like a pauper in medieval times walking in the marketplace with so many Turkeys (like myself) who are trying to be like eagles.

    Its a privelege to walk the cyberspace marketing place with a focus master Guru. Sometimes I wonder who are the turkeys in this market place and who are the eagles as many so called gurus keep knocking at my door in cyberspace wearing sheeps clothing but all they want to do is grab a hold of my credit card.

    I agree with digging deeper to fathom who is a friend and who is a foe. Your 1 year old nephew is absolutely right. THINGS dont bring everlasting happiness. They only bring comforts. Joy & happiness come from the soul.
    Ratting at other people negatively is definately not on my menu of building relationships as it will bite you back in the long run.
    The old adage: ‘What goes round, comes around’ both negatively and positively.
    There have been many times in my life where I have shared my emotions but not in business. Emotions could show a weak spot. I have discovered this in many sales deals.

    Patience is definately a character trait to develop. A test of patience for me usually appears when I am in the Supermarket waiting in line, ready to be served, for example today I was waiting in this que and this particular person was trying all her credit cards to find out which one had money in it. I couldn’t believe it. She found that she didn’t have enough money so she put one item back.
    Yes, there was those thoughts racing ahead of me. ‘Hurry up lady’ but no. My spiritual senses took over, “be patient my son”.

    I also agree in giving a lot of respect to others. We are all different people going through lifes experiences in different directions whether its the right one or not.

    I have always told my children never fight with anyone or never put yourself in a position where a imminent fight may occur. My philosophy is to turn the other cheek and walk away or run away. There is no need in hanging around waiting for something bad to happen.
    One day a close friend gossiped on me and I never spoke to him for about a year. Then one day he had an accident and because we work together he finally wanted to shake hands. I extended my hand to return our friendship once again.

    Finally master Neil, as I have mentioned previously in one of my posts that I have been working for my Company for 20years. You wouldn’t believe how many negative marital relationships I have come across. I sometimes feel like a Counsellor, Mentor, Social Worker, Psychiatrist, just to find answers to there problems.
    Please forgive me for hanging onto your coat-tails. I dont want to feel like a fish with no water or a boat with no rudder. You can boot me in the side master Neil and tell me to get lost. I’ll be happy to move on. Please dont tell me to go though. I’m sure I can see some rays of sun from Clickbank. “Where are you Clickbank? I’m still waiting.

    What an amazing journey master?


  36. Sven | BusinessInitiative :

    Hello Neil

    Nice one. I like the article but I disagree with some points. Now, I think the scriptwriters are those who deserve the credits for these wise words as R.D. is just and actor who performs his part.

    But the thing I mostly disagree is DO NOT PICK A FIGHT. It depends. If you know that this person will continue to mock you you better keep quiet and then hit so hard that he/she will never think about mocking you again. Another thing is that when others see that you always retreat they will all jump on you together, so this is not good either. My advice is to act according to the situation. Sometime run, sometimes make a stand. Sometimes it is just enough if you show your teeth. You can always show your teeth and keep an eye for the way out if the situation escalates.

    • Great points. I think you should definitely pick your fights and find civil means to resolve conflicts. Thanks!

    • Kevin Kimes :

      I’m not sure I’d agree with the analogy. Never be the one to inflict pain intentionally.

      Mocking is cheap, it only makes it’s target look bad if the target lacks confidence and assertiveness.

      A wise, even-tempered reply, or even a simply cool and calm attitude can be the sharpest retaliation the mocker may ever know.

      Now, when it comes to defending oneself, or most especially those one cares about, there certainly are times when “combat” may be necessary.

  37. Naser @ Best Tips For Blogging :

    Hey Neil, can you please let me know which plugin or edit did you apply to separate comments from trackbacks.

  38. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky :

    Speaking of great business quotes from actors, I like John Wayne’s “Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.” 😉

  39. Hey Neil ,
    I’ve never watched De Niro Movies from that angle. Even though I don’t agree in all points you made ,your article is rich of lessons as usual.


  40. Ratlam Business Guide :

    Don’t be a rat is one of the a great part of this post. I like the advice because i always feel that sometime i become rat and people avoid me for that time.

    I am trying to stop being a rat and get my reputation back.

    And about Patience. I had spend my 2 years in learning blogging stuff from the web and i am ready for more 20 years. Until i become successful like you.

    Thanks for the very nice post.

    Thank you and Regards
    Deepak Malviya

  41. Web Design LA :

    “You learned the two greatest things in life, never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut. ” this thing is not applicable for all time i think so, because some times situations make us to do what we don’t want to do 🙂

    • That’s true. These rules are not absolute, but in general they work well…especially in business.

  42. learn trade :

    He’s one of my favorite actors. I think i can really learn alot from this and enjoyed the article. I look forward to reading more stuff like this, your writing style is unique. thanks.

  43. CompTIA Network+ Training :


    Great post as usual.. I really like your take on things, and how you’re looking for the nugget of education in everything. Most people hear those words over and over and never internalize them and figure out how they really apply… it’s just entertainment.

    Kudos for digging deeper, and helping all of us to do the same. I like doing that type of stuff as well, although I admit I don’t do it as often as I’d like…

    One quote my mother used to always say, that I take with me is “Be Careful how you live your life.. You may be the only Bible some people ever read”.. meaning someone is always watching, and to them, you might be everything. So act with integrity, respect and be a role model to others (even when you think no one is watching…..)

    • I like the quote, it is very important to be mindful of such things. Thanks for taking the time to read, much appreciated 🙂

  44. Brian Clark :

    Great headline, Neil. Looks like something Don Draper might write. 😉

  45. Awesome post Neil.

    You know what, I have been telling people over and over again that you need patience to succeed in business. But alas, they don’t have the patience to hear that we need patience to succeed!!!

    Learning from everyone is great. But learn the good things and leave out the bad ones. The problem is, how to decide between what is good and what is bad. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice you have to make.

    Respecting someone else is the de facto in any online business. Most of the online companies, after they do business, have little or no respect for their customers. Guess where their clients end up the next time.

    It’s a nice refresher post. Hope to hear from you more often…

    • Great points. I wholeheartedly agree, patience is something one must have if they want to run a successful business. It’s the most overlooked virtue when people think of a successful business.

  46. College textbooks :

    I unfortunately had to learn a few of these lessons myself. When I first came into the internet realm I was clueless and had to open my mouth more often than not. I thought I was was being thorough, but I was being annoying and couldn’t learn anything with my mouth yapping. A former boss said God gave you 2 ears and 1 mouth, Two ears so that you listen twice as much as you speak.

    • Haha I like that last bit. It is definitely essential to talk less and listen more until you are the one people want to listen to. At that point you will wish that you can talk less and listen more haha.

  47. Some things, as we read them seem so obvious but becuse they’re obvious they’re also very easily ignored and it’s great to always get back to basics. Treat people the way we want to be treated by others. Thanks for this post I appreciate it.

  48. Kevin Kimes :

    The volume and depth of discussion here is fantastic, only surpassed by the wisdom of this content. This is my first time visiting here, I followed a link by John Chow.

    Perhaps the most important lesson of this post is demonstrated by the post theme itself, that we can learn from anything or anyone.

    Also, this one struck me:

    “remember that you are better off by keeping your mouth shut and walking away.”

    While it may not be the most important of these, it still is quite important. I think it may be, however, the most difficult concept for most people. Myself included. Some folks can’t even learn this one the hard way.

    It helps to make oneself realize that you are, after all, taking the high road. Even though you may appear to be losing, by holding this attitude you will win in the end.

    • Definitely, great points. I agree, taking the high road is essential to business success. Thanks for your input, much appreciated.

  49. Your down-to-earth, sensible, counterintuitive and humane view of business and life is refreshing. Thanks.

  50. David Caldwell :

    Hi Neil, a good thought piece, I think it’s interesting that many readers, and you in the comments, have equated “don’t be a rat” with “‘if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, shut your mouth”. I think this is very wrong. In this era of mass networking and ranking by twitter followers I think people are less willing than ever to call out liars, manipulators and charlatans, particularly if they (for example bloggers, journalists) have the power to make or break a startup.
    Letting someone know that they are doing the wrong thing, as well as warning others is a central pillar of a moral society. For me not ratting is more about not being two-faced rather than simply keeping my mouth shut.
    It may be very personally expedient from a business success for a startup entrepreneur not to burn bridges, but there is a potentially conflicting moral imperative to let someone know they’ve done the wrong thing- and particularly in the event they don’t care- warning others.
    Reminds me of something Darwin wrote in The Descent Of Man “But another and much more powerful stimulus to the development of the social virtues, is afforded by the praise and blame of our fellow-men. To the instinct of sympathy … it is primarily due, that we habitually bestow both praise and blame on others, whilst we love the former and dread the latter when applied to ourselves…”

    • David, great points. I especially like the point you made: ” for me not ratting is more about not being two-faced…” I agree being disingenuous is the worst.

  51. Free Flyer Templates :

    No doubt that is a really interesting post,i like your emotions affect decisions,I read your entire post it is too good and I like this most your information is too useful for me, I hope in future you will be provide to all member of this site such type good and useful information.

  52. Free Flyer Templates :

    Yeah don’t fight fire with fire,its can be dangerous,if i am wrong then correct me.

  53. Armand Polanski :

    Great post Neil,

    It’s really nice to come across a new blog everyday! Entrepreneurs really see the world differently, there minds are very imaginative and make common things into life lessons.

    Every single ting have an underlying lesson in it but but, Don’t you think when we dig deeper most of the we can interpret in the wrong way?

    • Great points. You could interpret things in a negative light but it’s important for you to maintain a positive approach to all things imaginative and great 🙂

  54. Great, I love how you linked business wisdom with DeNiro movies, which everyone loves. Except rocky and bulwinkle, righteous kill, and showtime, and, well the point is still valid it was good. Gives me an idea for an article: Movie quotes to live by. No.1 Bladerunner: “Revel in your time!”

    • Bladerunner is a great movie, and that is a great quote! I love quotes because people find them useful and interpret them in a multitude of ways.

  55. Clayton Rice :

    DeNiro has always been one of my favorite actors. I just saw Limitless not too long ago and he was fantastic as usual in it.

  56. Joris_lucius :

    Thanks, I can relate to all a lot, been in business since 6 years.
    Especially Patience: first 3 years were very hard.


  57. I am greatly inspired my the line “All good things come to those who wait.” It’s purely true with the concept Rome was not built in a day. Expecting more in less time a bigger mistake. Well, i too became a fan of Sir Robert De Niro after reading the post.

  58. Best Treadmills For Home :

    Neil, great idea for the post. I love all the quotes. But Robert de niro didn’t say any of those. All the credit really goes to the writers of the film.

  59. Always the patience make you to end in success…….:)

  60. Thanks Neil!

    I have been following your insightful blog for quite some time now and I really find something that tickles my mind every time.

    Indeed there’s so much to learn from other people. I know that for a fact since I’m learning so much about business and life in general from your blog.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks for the kind words, I am glad you enjoy my blog and find it useful. I definitely agree, learning from other people is what this blog is all about. I share my stories with people, they share with me.

    • Neil has a way of seeing business tips from a lot of things that the majority of us would pass by 🙂 This is one of the reasons I am reading this blog every day!

  61. Hello, great post neil, I am a new reader and have read a lot already, I am 19 and currently studying law at university, I have had a business mind since I was young, however never really used it to its full potential. I have recently had this great idea for something that is not out there, partnered up with a good friend that studies business, however I do not know how to go about firstly starting it up, i.e do i trademark the name first? how do i sort out all the terms and conditions. I was thinking of just going with the flow, however as I read in your previous post “one of your greatest mistakes was trying to make everything perfect.” Any advice would be great. Thanks.

    • I say brainstorm and take things step by step. You will find that slowing down the process goes a long way in speeding up the success rate :0

  62. After last night’s post-game quotes…maybe Lebron James needs to read this post. There’s something to be said about the section on respecting others. Great job as always. -Dave

    • Hahaha, I agree. He is a very arrogant individual, and he is overrated 😉

      • Yet, he is a very good player 🙂 I hope he will be able to loose the arrogant attitude and to play good all the time because people will start appreciating them after that.

      • BTW Neil, can’t you make an option so we can edit the posts because I can’t correct myself if I make some grammatical mistakes. It is enough if is active only for a few minutes after posting.

        • I’ll look into it. It’s not a big deal, I overlook grammatically and other errors 🙂

          • For me is hard to overlook my mistakes. I feel them scratching my brain. I have to correct them 😀 It would be cool if you were able to implement that option!

  63. StartUpLift :


    Great compilation of quotes.

    David k, well said regarding Lebron James about last night. Life’s too short and there are bigger worries than whether LeBron James hoists a trophy this year or next?

  64. yes neil i need to stop looking at things from surface level, need to dig deep. Tx for the great post 🙂

  65. There is absolutely no doubt that Robert Deniro (young don corleone) is one of the greatest actors in the history of cinema. Great job with those quotes Neil. I think many movies educate us and have valuable business lesson. After all, successful business is also about knowing human nature.

    • Definitely true, business is the most human of tasks. Transactions, persuasion, compromise…they are all at the core of what it is to be human.

  66. I love Robert DeNiro and I would hope that like some of his characters, he’s like that in real life as well. You know, doesn’t take crap from anyone.

    I like the way you phrased this one, we can all learn something from actors. Never really gave that much thought so I’ll be watching my next movie with a different outlook in mind.

    Thanks Neil for another great post.


  67. Great post Neil! He’s such a great actor, I have to say one of my favourite quotes is “it’s not personal, it’s just business” I first heard in You’ve Got Mail, from the Godfather. Sometimes it’s hard to step away and keep your “business head” on.
    Great Work!

  68. Zohan @ ScreamingTips :

    Hey Neal, What should i say buddy! I just enjoyed the tips outta here 🙂 Interesting stuff, am gonna bookmark this stuff and make it spammy in FB 😛 Anyway buddy thanks for the share!

  69. Thanks, I can relate to all a lot, been in business since 6 years.
    Especially Patience: first 3 years were very hard.


  70. Hello Neil ,
    I enjoyed to read these tips. According to my view Patience is a really a big thing in any business and job, No One can grow without it.

    • Definitely, patience is something that is essential for any business. You have to strive to be the best you can and work hard, patience allows you to do those things.

    • Patience is something that not all the people have, but is something required in order to succeed in business. But the ability ti take action when is the right time is also required. There is no point in being patient and not taking action eventually.

  71. “Schumck” as Donald Trump called it, but I’m on your side 🙂

  72. “My recommendation is that you start as soon as possible as you don’t have too many financial or family obligations when you are 16 or 18 years old.”

    Good insights in this post; patience and persistence are key to any endeavor. I am 21 right now, waiting to graduate from Binghamton University with a degree in Marketing. I have always been interested in being an entrepreneur as well, but have I waited too long? I plan on getting a full-time job right out of college first.

  73. It’s never too late. I just happened to start early. I know people in their late 60s who are just getting started, Good luck!

  74. Randy Tucker :

    Hi Neil.
    I appreciate your incite and you make a lot of sense in much of what you say but, (don’t ya hate it when someone say’s but), and I know this is just a DeNiro quote : “I don’t give a shit who he’s connected to. Tell him to take his fuckin’ feet off the table. What’s he think this is, a goddamn sawdust joint?”

    Professionals that I deal with don’t use that kind of language and it is very offensive to many of us. Perhaps you could have used another quote or none at all.


    • Sorry you felt that way. I was using the quote to highlight a point. Sometimes something as abrasive as that quote really gets the point across. Often simple terms don’t suffice.

  75. Yasir Khan - Quantum SEO Labs :

    DeNiro’s characters are always a very solid male figure to look up to (aside from the slight technicality with the killing and hiding bodies and all :p) Another great movie that I learned a lot about life through was The Godfather. Since watching it for the first time many years ago with my dad, I still find myself conducting myself properly because of the things I learned from Don Corleone.

  76. The Marital Therapy Center, PC :

    Small Business Tips to Help You Fill Your Knowledge Gaps
    1-. Get a mentor or coach
    3-Move around

  77. Hi Neil!

    Nice to see your work here! I have heard about you for a long time from Internet Marketing channel. However, I don’t think you are really young like that. You are doing very good job, Neil. Keep it up!

  78. Rich Dad Wisdom :

    Couldn’t agree more… you’ll make money if you help people to solve their problem.

  79. Parin Patel :

    LOL… Gotta love De Niro’s quotes!

    Favorite piece is “You Don’t Know Everything”.

    Reminds of “The Master Mind” concept from “Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. How Henry Ford surrounded himself with great people who had knowledge that he didn’t necessarily (need to) possess himself – because he didn’t (need to) “know everything”. Not sure if you’ve read it, but it’s a good read if you haven’t!

    In today’s society, with information available so readily, and easily, to us, I think we feel “embarassed” if we don’t know “everything” or the “latest and greatest” – maybe it’s peer pressure, fear of looking “stupid”, etc.

    But, there’s no way you can know “everything” – because you can’t do everything yourself either. That’s why you surround yourself with great people, and a great team.

    Two of my favorite sayings are:

    “You can learn something from everybody. No matter what age or background.”

    “When you think you know it all, be careful. You might not know as much as you really think.”

    • I really like both of those quotes, I think I am going to use them if you don’t mind..

      • Parin Patel :

        Glad you liked them! No worries man, go ahead and share with others! I’ll tweet you these quotes too. 🙂

  80. i only know robert de niro as an actor but most actors have their foundation and businesses on their names. just recently i realized that robert de niro co-founds tribeca films and the tribeca film festival. only a few people can do such impact on movies and culture.

  81. No wonder that you can learn some mighty business lessons from DeNiro… the guy looks like Eben Pagan!

  82. If we starting an business we should get some advice from our seniors its help us a lot

  83. Nespresso D290 :

    I love this article and the twist using Robert De Niro. I’m a big fan and some of those lines are classics! You certainly keep it fun.

  84. “No financial obligations until 18 years old” is my favorite.

  85. hey neil.
    great sharing. really liked “It’s Better to be the Solution Than the Problem”, every must try for it.



  86. Jessica Hobbies :

    I really like the way you wrote this post! It makes perfect sense, and is so easy to relate to. I was brought up with similar values, to always respect people and to avoid the conflicts as best you can.

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